Each issue of feminist fanzine Girls Get Busy (GGB) is plastered with aesthetic codes – glitter, cursive calligraphy, pastel shades – daring you to call it girly and frivolous. Yet give it a closer look and you will discover an aggression, though less of the burning bra breed and more of empowered female youth with much to do and say.
I'd always been inspired by the riot grrrl movement and its fanzines, but I was a bit apprehensive because of my self-esteem. Mainly, I wanted to make it a collection of work from different types of young girls to create a support group to help build other girls' self-esteem
Fast becoming a godmother for young voices of her generation (gratitude has been expressed by fanmail and even GGB tattoos), the zine's founder and curator Beth Siveyer, 23, began Girls Get Busy in December 2010. Siveyer sustains momentum through book-reading events, zine festivals and creating even more zines today. Dazed Digital chats with the creative about her own personal struggle, male feminists – Meadham Kirchhoff's Edward Meadham is a fan – and the future, quickly learning that everyone can take something away from this energetic and inspired individual.
Dazed Digital: I just read a tweet where you said: 'Sometimes I feel cursed by my own curves'. Does this generally sum up your feminist philosophy?
Beth Siveyer: I'm quite an angry person deep down. I really hate that sexual harassment on the street, even if it’s just a wolf whistle I feel like I just have to accept it as it's not serious enough to get angry about. But no! You're not giving me a compliment.
DD: Speaking of compliments, Edward Meadham chose Girls Get Busy as his favourite zine. How does that feel?
Beth Siveyer: I'm actually friends with them so that’s probably why they chose me! We met through a zine Tavi Gevison made, and I wanted to do an interview with Ed for my friend's online fashion magazine called As You Are. We met up and really got on.
DD: Does GGB have many gay male fans?
Siveyer: Yeah, and I think it's especially amazing that the boys are able to showcase their feminism so openly in the fashion world. I'm actually working a new zine for male feminists called A Small Book of Hims – A Celebration of Male Feminists, which Ed has contributed to!
DD: That sounds brilliant but let’s talk about you now. What inspired you to create GGB?
Siveyer: I'd always been inspired by the riot grrrl movement and its fanzines, but I was a bit apprehensive because of my self-esteem. It wasn't until a friend started making fanzine illustrations that I saw how easy it was. The first issue was quite an achievement for me, and pardon me sounding like a hippy but I felt almost reborn! Its support has had such an affect on my personal life and confidence. Mainly, I wanted to make it a collection of work from different types of young girls to create a support group to help build other girls' self-esteem. I'm very conscious of including women of colour and making sure it's not just one kind of feminism that GGB is about.
DD: The zine is loved for its features and contributions from bands and artists alike. Who are your current favourites?
Siveyer: Arvida Bystrom, the Swedish artist – you'll find her on one of Ed's moodboards. She's very androgynous and uses the symbolism of religion a lot. I love the American artist Grace Miceli too. I'm also obsessing over the artist Kembra Pfahler after seeing her perform at Antony's Meltdown Festival last weekend.
DD: Most recently GGB has been involved in fund-raising for the pussy riot trial, can you briefly share why this has been an important cause to support?
Siveyer: I don't think religion and politics should ever come in hand. I'm really concerned with Russia and its anti-gay laws coming in. It's just regressive.
DD: What's in store for the future?
Siveyer: I've lots of fantasies for GGB. I'd love to create an anthology of all the zines after some years. I'd also love to do a feminist school; there's already one called UK feminista summer school. I've also been toying with the idea of starting a music label.
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